A Solid Foundation For Any Party

Photo #836: Rock SolidLocation Taken: Ontario, Canada
Time Taken: June 2010

I ran across an interesting link recently. Someone playing a Pathfinder game decided to draw his party and kept it up for a while, documenting the way things changed. It starts from simple descriptions of one dimensional characters and grows into, well, far far more. I really recommend giving it a read.  It’s a great view into the glory that is roleplaying.

That and I swear I’ve played that Barbarian before. Female, odd race, odd quirks, and a bedrock for the party, both in staying strong in the face of changes and in doing the most of the damage in fights. Sure, I choose other races and quirks, but that basic formula? Totally played that.

I’ve noticed that I have a type of character I like to play in just about any game. Strong fighter types, but still a team player, often picking support and tank abilities as well. I like getting in there and surviving all the hits so I can smash away happily right in the enemy’s face. I’m the front line, but I’m also frequently the healer. I tend towards a bit quirky but stable when it counts. Good at keeping track of what’s going on around them, poor at anything dealing with social situations. I also don’t have any pride tied up in doing the most damage, but frequently end up being solidly consistent at that job.

And really, that’s who I am in reality. Strong personality, takes joy in being different, but stable. I’ll happily help out anyone around me as they need, but refuse to let them take advantage to me. Now if only real life was a lot more about bashing enemies and a lot less about talking to people who look down on you…  I’m totally statted wrong for the standard encounters in this real life game…


Laidback Falls

Photo #835: Laidback FallsLocation Taken: Ithaca, New York
Time Taken: March 2010

One of the best things about waterfalls is how varied they are. You have to have water, and it has to fall, and after that, anything goes.

They can be big, they can be small. They can be short, they can be tall. They form in just about any area, even if only during a storm. Some are hidden in trees, others surrounded by nothing by rocks. They can even go underground and never be found again.

The one in the photo’s rather laid back. It’s got a lot of short falls, and a long gentle slope. There’s the sound of falling water, but it’s less of a pounding and more of a symphony. People go swimming and fishing in the area quite happily. It’s a peaceful falls, don’t you think?


Hmmm… We’re in Idaho, and there’s some Falls… What to name the town…

Photo #834: Idaho Falls FallsLocation Taken: Idaho Falls, Idaho
Time Taken: June 2010

I’m tired of mountains, time for waterfalls!

This one’s so lovely, they named the town after it.

Though that’s actually fairly common. Towns had a strong tendency to pop up around waterfalls, back in the days when water power and travel were the way things were done. If you took a boat on the river, you had to either stop at the waterfall and go around it, or take things very slow and go over it. This created a natural rest spot, which is just the sort of thing that grows into a town. Meanwhile, that same waterfall is a perfect setup for waterwheels and turbines and all the lovely ways to put together water and gravity and make use of it.  And well, if the waterfall is that important, you’re going to keep referring to it when you talk about the area and oh look you have a name.

…Feel like I’ve mentioned that before. Oh well!

Long waterfalls like this one are especially interesting. Basic rule of water is that it finds the lowest spot and flows down it. So why are there so many low spots here?

Well, if you look closely, you can see that the waterfall is at an angle to the river. Just a quirk of how the rock lies, but an important one. The water all the way on the left encounters the edge first, and falls. But the water left of that, what can it do? It can’t go right, there’s water in the way, perhaps forward a little- and it falls. Keep that up across the whole width of the river and you end up with a waterfall far wider than it is tall.

Though, really, should it count as one waterfall? There’s lots of small falls there all working together… Eh, that’s just semantics. Five waterfalls for the price of one!


Falling on the Rocks

Photo #833: Rocky FallsLocation Taken: Western Ontario
Time Taken: June 2010

The best waterfalls are the hidden ones.

Sure, there’s something great about the big name falls, like Niagara, but you know what you’re getting into with those. You have a picture in your head already, and while the sounds, the area, the angles involved might all surprise you, the general look of the falls, not so much.

But the hidden ones? The ones you run into while traveling, when you decide to follow a sign saying “Waterfall, next right”? Or just stop somewhere for any reason at all, and happen to glance over to see a glimmer of white nearby? Those are downright magical.

Sure, they may not be as impressive as the big ones. I mean that literally, pretty much any waterfall above a certain size is famous. They’re kind of difficult to miss, after all. But the small ones have their own beauty. Like this one, which both has fabulous rocks around it and an interesting tiered look. There’s that long drop, enough for some of the water to become mist, then a small extra drop at the bottom. The cherry on top, if you will, something not necessary but makes the whole thing all the better.

Add in the way the falls and the rocks line up, and I’d happily take this over crowded Niagara any day.


Rumbling with the Rubble Rabble

Photo #832: Rubble RabbleLocation Taken: Banff National Park, Alberta
Time Taken: June 2010

Mmmm… Rubble. Nice rubble.

People really underrate rubble. Just think of all the nice things it does!

It, um, um, um…

Looks kinda interesting?

If it’s ground up small enough, it’s gravel. And gravel’s useful. We use it for all sorts of things, forming stable lower layers on paths and roads that still allow drainage to happen.

If it’s regular enough, well, that’s rock you don’t have to break. You can stack it up and make fences and walls and all sorts of lovely things out of it.

And it forms all sorts of interesting landforms! This rubble, for instance, was ground up and deposited here by a glacier. It’s known as a moraine. And this particular moraine is blocking the valley and forming a rather lovely lake.

Rubble. It’s interesting. Really! And the word itself is fun to say!

Rubble rubble rubble rubble!